Major Step Forward for Texas Taxpayers:Texas Senate approves the Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017

AUSTIN – Senate Bill 2, the Property Tax Reform and Relief Act, by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), today passed the Texas Senate on an 18-12 vote. “Texas taxpayers know the truth,” Senator Bettencourt said. “Property taxes are rising too fast. As appraisal values rise, tax rates do not come down enough to provide property tax relief. Senate Bill 2 will save future money for hard-pressed homeowners and business owners.”

Senator Bettencourt said, “The Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Manuel Medina supported SB 2 along with the entire Harris County Republican Party. This is not a partisan issue, it is an everybody pays issue.”

The Interim Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief went to 7 cities, took 50 hours of public testimony from 321 witnesses, interacted with 2,150 attendees and heard from frustrated taxpayers around the state who were afraid of being taxed out of their home or business by ever-rising property tax bills. SB 2 seeks, among other things, to lower the rollback rate from 8 percent to 5 percent, schedules an automatic election if a taxing jurisdiction exceeds that rate, and brings transparency and simplification to the property tax appraisal process in Texas. The rollback rate reduction to 5 percent is consistent with the original property tax law written in 1979.

“Throughout Texas, in hearing after hearing, the Select Committee heard 50 hours of public testimony from frustrated Texas taxpayers who overwhelmingly called for property tax relief,” Senator Bettencourt stated. “The Texas Senate heard them. SB 2’s passage says, the plight of homeowners and business owners is recognized.”

Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano), a co-author of the bill, reaffirmed that SB 2 represents the ultimate form of local control, “putting power back in the hands of the people to check the growth of government.” He also stated, “You are not free if you do not own what you make. If we want to give our children a future where they are free, we have to pass Senate Bill 2.” Earlier this month, Collin County passed a unanimous resolution in support of SB 2.

After a lengthy debate on the floor between Senator Bettencourt and fellow Senators, the Senate voted to approve the bill and move it on to the Texas House. “I want to thank Lt. Governor Patrick for his support for SB 2 and property tax reform for Texas taxpayers,” Senator Bettencourt concluded.  

The bill, SB 2, moves on to the Texas House where Chairman Dennis Bonnen has filed a similar bill, House Bill 15, for property tax reform and relief.